Ever wonder why some bands have v’s in their names instead of u’s or w’s? How about why there are so many exclamation marks in 2000s pop punk? Much like baby names, band name trends come in cultural waves and can often be explained.
We’ve identified some of the hottest — and strangest — current naming conventions and attempted to pinpoint their origins. Let us know any trends we missed!
MISSPELLING WITH “V”
Culprits: Alvvays, Chvrches, Wavves
There’s a magic word in the realm of digital media called SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization. If your product naturally appears high on search engines like Google, it’s considered ‘SEO friendly’ or having good SEO.
Some bands with straightforward names discovered they could dominate search results by intentionally misspelling their names. Google “Always” and you’ll be redirected to feminine hygiene products. But swap that w for two v’s and you’ll find countless articles about the Toronto pop rockers. Vvery Clevver, Alvvays.
REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT
Culprits: BADBADNOTGOOD, Choir! Choir! Choir!, Hot Hot Heat, JR JR, PKEW PKEW PKEW, Ra Ra Riot, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
You can thank Yeah Yeah Yeahs for bringing repetition to the mainstream way back in 2000. Whether for onomatopoeia (PKEW PKEW PKEW sounds like gunshots) or to hammer home their shtick (Choir!Choir!Choir! is a choir – surprise!), these names just won’t go away away away.
LITTLE / KID / JUNIOR
Culprits: Billy the Kid, Dinosaur Junior, Good Kid, JR JR, Kid Cudi, Little Dragon, Little Joy, Little Junior, Rozwell Kid
Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme once told the press that the band chose ‘Queens’ over ‘Kings’ of the Stone Age because, “Kings would be too macho.” He figured rock shouldn’t be so masculine or tough sounding that some listeners might feel alienated.
These artists appear to follow Homme’s logic, but instead of perpetuating pesky gender stereotypes by equating ‘queens’ or ‘girls’ with fragility, they instead use terms like little, kid, and junior to express their sweetness.
WORD + PLACE = AWESOME
Culprits: Best Coast, Glasvegas, Hollerado, Japandroids
During the ‘70s and ‘80s, rock stars scooped up just about every city, state, and country imaginable to use for band names (Kansas, Boston, Chicago, Toronto). Today’s musicians had to be a little more clever when naming their bands after places, and went with combining a place with another noun or verb. Take Japandroids for instance: Japan plus androids sounds infinitely cooler than either word alone.
Culprits: Fuck Buttons, Fucked Up, Hell Ya Fucking Right, Holy Fuck, Nice As Fuck
Up until the late 2000s it was inconceivable to think artists could get any press with such a nasty word spearheading their music. But when hardcore heroes Fucked Up became Polaris Prize nominees for David Comes to Life, an entire generation of musical edgelords realized commercial success could be attained without the need for self censorship.
Free Band Name Ideas Courtesy of Your Friends at Indie88
Now that we’ve identified the greatest tricks in band naming, we took the liberty of crafting a few objectively great names. You’re welcome, internet.
-BAND! BAND! BAND!